By Ephraim Oseji
THE Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, chieftain and former Delta State governorship aspirant, Chief Sunny Onuesoke, has appealed to the Federal Government to sell the moribund Ajaokuta Steel Company and allow private sector expertise restructure it for the benefit of Nigerians.
He said no Nigerian would visit Ajaokuta Steel Company to see the investments of more than $8 billion rotting away in the African sun and not cry, noting: “I went there, I cried and asked what exactly is the problem with us.”
Onuesoke, who spoke to newsmen in Ajaokuta, Kogi State after a private tour of the steel complex, lamented that Ajaokuta Steel company, that had reached 98 per cent completion as far back as 1994, had not produced single steel till date, while the government was wasting over N2 billion on payment of staff salaries every year for doing nothing.
He recalled that the Federal Government budgeted N3.9 billion in 2016 and N4.27 billion in 2017 for the resuscitation of the moribund steel company, despite an earlier business case in the last administration showing that the complex could only work if properly privatised.
READ ALSO: FG hands over 2km road to FedPoly Nasarawa
He said: “I am calling for the outright sale of the company because it has for years remained a white elephant project, swallowing billions of our scarce resources in project funds without benefit to Nigerians.
“Besides, the project has become a cesspit of corruption from dispensation to dispensation. It has been concessioned to shadowy foreign and local firms under dubious conditions several times. The politics behind inept Ajaokuta Steel Company is worst than NNPC refineries.”
Onuesoke pointed out that the steel project will never see the light of the day under the terrible federal public service, advising that any government, which is genuinely interested in the take-off of the laudable project must personally supervise its concession under a PPP to a big international company with a good track record of performance.